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The Language of Creativity: A Visual Art Workshop

Have you ever had the experience of not making your art because you felt creativity wasn’t speaking to you? We all have had this, but the fact is, creativity is accessible to us every time we go to our studios. We don’t have to depend on a spark or inspiration. It is there if we invite it. This workshop is about developing a closer relationship with creativity so it shows up when you want it to. It is about understanding the language of creativity, how it operates in our minds and our hearts. We will use guided exercises that demonstrate how creativity functions. And since your artmaking is unique to YOU, so is this workshop. While making new experimental work, we will teach ourselves to keep creativity present in our studio practice every day. 

“If I want Creativity to join me, all I have to do is ask. But I have to be ready, because she’s going to be an interactive collaborator in my art from the time she comes in, until I ask her to leave.” Fran Gardner

This workshop welcomes artists of all mediums. However, if your process is very slow like pieced quilting, or needs space like welding or large sculpture, you might consider using this time and process to develop ideas for later work. If you have taken one of Fran’s creativity workshops before, come back – every workshop offers new information on accessing creativity.


  • To analyze the type of images to which you are intuitively drawn, helping us to understand your creative language
  • To create art that looks at new ways to build on your established voice and deepen personal expression
  • To leave the workshop with an understanding of how to stay engaged with creativity in your own studio
  • To experiment with the exercises to see which ones you can use in your studio


Fran will bring LOTS of supplies, but she also knows artists need their own stuff. Artists need to bring supplies to work on a minimum of 3 projects in any materials you wish. If you tend to work fast, bring more supplies. Fran is available to consult with you on materials prior to the workshop. Please bring materials with which you are familiar, and you work with regularly. Or you can rely solely on what she brings and lighten your load.

She will provide paint, paper, markers, pencils, pastels, brushes, and other studio staples. 

The minimum that each artist needs to bring: scissors, 10 pages of images to which you are attracted, torn from magazines

About Fran Gardner
A native South Carolinian, Fran Gardner lives and works in Heath Springs. She earned her BFA from Columbia College (1982) and later, her MFA from Vermont College of Norwich University (1993). She is Professor Emerita of art and art history at the University of South Carolina Lancaster where she taught studio courses and art history for 32 years. It is through these many years of teaching that she developed her methods for working with artists on their studio practice and creativity and gained the expertise for writing critical essays about art, leading retreats, teaching workshops, and judging and curating exhibitions. Her first full length book, Artists Will Find a Way, will be published in 2024.
Gardner has gained attention in mixed media collage. She paints and draws with traditional materials, but also with the sewing machine, layering her work with rich texture, color and mark-making. Her work has been exhibited regionally and nationally and published in Fiberarts and Needle Arts magazines and in the books Crafting Personal Shrines, by Carol Owen, The Art of Textiles, by Mary Schoeser and Scanning the Hypnoglyph: Sleep in Modernist and Postmodern Representation, by Nathaniel Wallace.
Gardner has won a variety of awards in competitive exhibits both statewide and nationally. In addition, she has exhibited at numerous art centers and museums across the US. She is a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists in New York and President of the SC Chapter. A career highlight was the invitation to be a United States National Park Artist-In-Residence at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. 
Instructor/Artist: Fran Gardner
Dates: September 20-23, 2024 | 10am-4pm each day
Class Fee: $500